NBSZ, Facebook launch blood donation feature
Gweru, (New Ziana) – The National Blood Services Zimbabwe in collaboration with Facebook Africa has launched a blood donation feature that is aimed at increasing blood donations in the country.
Zimbabwe becomes the eighth country in Africa with the Facebook feature that has seen 70 million people worldwide and 45 000 in South Africa signing up to be blood donors.
Zimbabwean donors are expected to join on Facebook to take part.
Speaking during a virtual conference for the launch, National Blood Services Zimbabwe public affairs manager Esther Massundah said Zimbabwe has not been spared the challenges brought by Covid-19 for blood services around the world.
She said the challenges have shown the need to come up with more innovative ways of recruiting blood donors in an environment where people are encouraged to stay at home.
The challenges, she said had necessitated the need for NBSZ to engage Facebook as there were opportunities to improve blood donations.
“NBSZ engaged Facebook Africa in May 2020, expressing interest in the blood donations feature tool which was being promoted globally,” she said.
Massundah said consultations with Facebook Africa commenced in July this year with the country certified ready to use the tool in August.
She said the feature connects people who want to donate blood with donors signing up on Facebook.
“Our goal is to use the Facebook platform to reach out and recruit blood donors during and beyond the Covid-19 period.
“We also want to enhance awareness on the NBSZ blood donation activities which will be taking place at different NBSZ static clinics and mobile collection sites in the community,” she said.
Massundah said after the corporate activation of the feature, the NBSZ would go on a nationwide sensitisation programme where they will launch the feature in provinces.
She said her organisation was going to look at the potential technicalities especially of donors in rural areas where there is no internet connectivity as well as addressing the cost of data which is beyond the reach of many.
Facebook Africa public policy director Kojo Boakye said the feature has been successful in countries already with millions around the world using it.
Community working group on health representative Itai Rusike applauded NBSZ for the partnership they have created with Facebook Africa.
He said most of Zimbabwe’s population was in the rural areas and there was need for NBSZ to partner civic society organisations and other stakeholders in its quest to recruit blood donors.